COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Home | COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
We offer a free, confidential service intended to provide you with a high standard of service. However, sometimes things go wrong and people are unhappy with the service.   We want to know if there are problems and our priority is to investigate these impartially and independently at all times.
There are many ways to make a complaint:   sometimes it can be resolved informally.  In the first instance, you can talk through your concerns with your counsellor, trainer, supervisor, or the Manager.  You are able to complain about any aspect of the service you have received from anyone at Safe Space.
Safe Space is recognised by COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland).  COSCA’s Complaint Procedure is available from your counsellor, supervisor, groupworker or the Manager.  It is available in our lobby, on our website, and can also be accessed on COSCA’s website: www.cosca.org.uk.
If you feel unable to make the complaint yourself and need a representative to support you, that is acceptable.
Formal Complaint
If you cannot resolve your complaint informally then you can make a formal complaint.   This can be done by telephone, by letter and in person and if you need assistance in doing so, we can source help, such as an advocacy service, or help with any sensory impairments.
In handling your complaint, these are our commitments to you and the standards we will observe:
a) complaints will be acknowledged within 10 working days
b) the Manager will then assess your complaint. This will remain confidential.
c) If the complaint is against the Manager, it will be referred to the Board of Directors.
d) All complaints will be handled by people who are impartial, and independent of both and the person you are complaining about.
e) The Manager will keep you up to date with the progress of the investigation by letter or email.
f) Any conflicts of interest will be reported to a designated person, usually the Manager.
g) The complaint will be discussed in a confidential manner, with both parties able to attend any investigation separately; they may be accompanied by a supportive second person, or represented by them if they wish.
h) You will receive a full reply to your complaint within 20 working days of acknowledgement, unless there are extenuating circumstances, or the complaint is particularly complex. If this happens, we will write and let you know.
i) Complaints will be time-limited to 3 years following the incident.
j) If a complaint falls within the scope of Safe Space’s Disciplinary Procedure, it may be handled according to that procedure and sanctions applied if necessary: sanctions would depend upon the outcome of the Disciplinary Procedure (and whether the complaint also falls within the Capability Procedure) and would possibly involve further training, supervision and monitoring.    This would be done by the Manager.
k) the complaint can be withdrawn at any time or, if a complainant fails to co-operate reasonably, or attend relevant meetings with the investigation officer, the complaint will be dropped.   Both parties would be informed.  
Outcome
We will investigate your complaint as thoroughly as possible.    However, if you are unhappy with the outcome you can ask the Chair of the Board to review it.   We would ask that you let us know within one month of receiving a decision on your initial complaint and we would aim to conclude any review within 14 working days.
If substantially new information has come to light, or specialist advice is required the Chair may refer it to an independent assessor.    We would also do this, if necessary, to maintain impartiality.
Please note that if legal action is taken or pending then the person hearing the complaint can halt the procedure until legal proceedings are concluded.
If you continue to remain unhappy with the outcome you can refer your complaint to:
COSCA : 16 Melville Terrace, Stirling FK8 2NE;  01786 475140
www.cosca.org.uk               Email:  info@cosca.org.uk
Safe Space will submit a report to COSCA at the conclusion of  our complaint proceedings.
Our complaints policy does not cover:
a)  Anonymous complaints:  these are difficult to respond to, so we encourage you to use any of the other methods above.    We will however log anonymous complaints.
b)  Third party complaints:   Safe Space’s contract of service is with an individual client who has received counselling, group work, supervision, or training from us, and we can only accept complaints from them.   This means we cannot accept complaints from family members or other individuals on their own account.
c)   Third parties may assist clients with bringing a client’s complaint, as outlined above.
d)   Safe Space organisational policies and procedures.
e)   Matters that have already been investigated through the complaints process.
Please address any written complaint (marked ‘Confidential’) to:    The Manager, Safe Space, Unit 28, Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline KY11 3BZ